A Stressful Day In Darwin - Part 1

Previous page - Playing the tourist in Darwin, Part 2


Today we want to head out further by bus

After breakfast we had in mind to travel by bus to the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery, then by bus to Fanny Bay Gaol and then back on the bus again to the East Point Military Museum.


Ian, whose profession is bus driving, had it all worked out with bus numbers etc., just as organized as you would expect a bus driver to be :) But before that we need to find some breakfast.

So, we headed off down Mitchell Street looking for an early breakfast. We were determined not to leave breakfast as late as we did yesterday morning and end up nearly flaking out in the heat again.


We find breakfast in a little cafe

We found a little cafe for breakfast quite close to the rear of the hotel. Ian had sausages, eggs, tomato and toast and I had a bacon and egg sandwich which was even better than the one I ate yesterday. We got the whole lot (no drinks were ordered, because we used our water bottles) for $15.50 which we thought was excellent value.

The mall in central Darwin The mall in Darwin
A quiet time in Darwin city centre Quiet time in Darwin's main street








Finding the Museum and Art Gallery

Off we headed to the bus depot and found bus #4. We asked the bus driver to let us know where to get off, which he did. When we got off we thought we were out in the suburbs. It didn't look like the kind of place where you would find the territory's main museum or art gallery. Then we spied a little street sign pointing to the very place we wanted to visit. We headed off in that direction with no idea of how far we had to walk. Of course it was already stinking hot and humid. It ended up being an eight minute walk.

We get a little peeved at the street signs here as they don't say how far away a place might be. Is it 500 metres or two kilometres? In such extreme weather conditions it would be nice to know whether one should walk or get a taxi. This is something that all towns and cities should bear in mind when they create their signage. It would be so helpful for tourists as many maps don't show the distance or they are not really to scale anyway so you can get the wrong impression on how far away places are.


The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

More tropical vegetation More tropical vegetation

Anyway back to the Museum/Art gallery ...... the building is in a lovely area with lots of trees, grass and, of course, tropical plants around. It was slightly off the beaten track but in a lovely location.

We saw wonderful displays of art work and the museum was very interesting because the displays were very well explained. We marvelled at the car made from string and rope. We wished we were allowed to photograph it. The Cyclone Tracey display was fascinating. We went into the sound chamber and heard the terrifying wind and crashing noises of the cyclone at its peak. There was a notice on the door of the sound chamber warning those people who had lived through the cyclone to be cautious about entering as it may be confronting to "re-visit" the trauma all over again. It was a great place to visit and entry was free.


Mangroves in Darwin Mangroves in Darwin

Travelling by bus in Darwin

We came out of the building and did our hot 8 minute trek back to the bus stop. We came across some back packer girls coming up the street and stopped to speak to them. Turns out we had just missed the bus that would take us further down the road to the Fanny Bay Gaol. Bother! That meant a longish wait at the bus stop for the next #4 bus. The seat at the bus stop was directly in the sun so we had to stand behind the bus stop to get a little shade.



The ants knew that was the cooler place to be so that's why they were hanging out there too (in their thousands). Eventually another #4 came by and we hopped on. The bus driver said the stop we needed for the gaol was only one stop further down the track. He said we could have walked it in 6 minutes. We'd hung around much, much longer than that at the bus stop. The map we had was indicating the gaol was much further along the road than it was. Bugger again! Anyway he took us to the next stop. Then followed a 10 minute walk up hill to the gaol.


Fannie Bay Gaol Darwin

The old  Fanny Bay Jail Fanny Bay Gaol

As we reached the gaol we could see a man putting out a sign. The sign said the gaol was closed for an hour for lunch! As we got closer we could hear the caretaker saying he wouldn't be long - probably only 15 minutes. He was going straight to the shops to get himself some lunch then he'd be back and open up for us again. So, more sitting around in the heat. Luckily he was back in about 20 minutes and let us in. The gaol was somewhat of a disappointment to us. Maybe it wouldn't have been so if we hadn't been so hot and cranky with all the hanging around.

It was not a big gaol and of course, as you would expect of such an old building, nothing was air conditioned. Most of the information there centred on two guys who had murdered a Darwin taxi driver back in the 1960's. There wasn't a lot else to see.



Next page - Stressful day in Darwin Part 2 Find out what we should have done instead.







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